Oil Excitement
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THE OIL EXCITEMENT

(Galveston Daily News, January 28, 1901)

Orange, Tex., Jan. 26--Has Done Much In The Number of People It Has Brought To Texas--More Than Other Agencies Could Have Induced To Visit The State In Years.

To the News: After spending a day at Beaumont, I want to say that as an immigration agent, the Beaumont oil well is a howling success. It has succeeded in bringing to Texas representative men from nearly every state in the union---yes, hundreds of them, men of means, push, influence, energy, and enterprise.

It would take a small army of immigration and industrial agents years to accomplish for Texas what this oil well has done in a few weeks in the way of attracting the attention of the people and press of the Old States (other U. S. States to the east) to this state (Texas).

Many men who came to Beaumont to see the oil well would not have visited Texas in their life time and would probably have died with little or no knowledge of this state. As it is, many of the visitors to Beaumont have taken side trips to other points in the state. They have also met and mingled with a great many citizens from different counties and cities of Texas while at Beaumont and learned much of Texas and its resources. Since the big well has been discovered, I have met quite a number of prominent men from the Old States in Houston and other Texas cities who were induced to visit the state after reading of the oil strike at Beaumont. These men invariably expressed surprise at the natural advantages and great resources of the state (of Texas), and when they return to their homes, will, I feel sure, have something good to say of and for Texas and her citizens.

It is safe to say that the map of Texas has been sought and inspected by tens of thousands of people in the Old States (east of the Misissippi) during the past four weeks and will continue to be for some time to come. Printed information of the State and Texas newspapers are in demand, and the demand will materially increase as the interest grows. Those who are to profit by new people and capital coming to the State (Texas) would do well to furnish those interested with all the information asked for.

Thanks to the faith, energy, and enterprise of Mr. Lucas and his associates for the good work they have done, not only for Jefferson County and Beaumont, but for all Texas. Such men are entitled to credit, encouragement, and liberal treatment by our State and people. Had Texas a more liberal mining law, we could no doubt soon have a greater Texas. There is little or nothing to encourage men of small means to prospect for minerals, oil, etc., in Texas. While the legislature is in session, a liberal and fair mining law both to the land owner and prospector should be passed.

Outside of some disappointment expressed (by those who have lately visited Texas) on account of the high prices asked for lands and town property, I have not met anyone who regretted the time and money spent in making the trip. They seemed to feel that they were well repaid in seeing the big oil well and Texas.

Large land owners and those with large lists of vacant town and city lots and blocks have missed some excellent opportunities during the past four weeks. They could have disposed of some of their holdings--landed on "Easy Street"--and have plenty of real estate left for use and to speculate on, and at the same time, interested some strong men financially, also men of influence, in their county, city and state.

It would be well to keep in mind the fact that fortune, like lightning, seldoms strikes twice at the same door. Another fact worth remembering is that it takes people, and lots of them, also improvements, to make cities. Idle lands, vacant town lots, undeveloped mines and oil fields, like idle men, don't keep the wheels of progress moving.

Oil is all very well as far as it goes, but we should not overlook the agricultural department of the county. Home builders for our vacant lands will make a solid foundation for our towns and cities. To secure the actual settlers for the coast country, we will have to settle the road, drainage, and land questions. With oil, coal, and iron under, and rice, sugar cane, tobacco, fruit, vegetables, cotton, corn, lumber, etc., above ground, Texas and Texas people ought to keep up with the procession, but to do this, we should not let any good man from the old states who visits Texas with a view to making it his home escape or have cause to return to his home and say to his neighbors: "Land is too high in Texas for a man of moderate means to secure a home."

The town of Orange will double its present population and wealth when the surrounding country is settled by farmers and not before.

John Howard, Immigration Agent Southern Pacific Railway. (Compiled by W. T. Block)

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